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Short Tandem Twin / S.39 Triple Twin

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1911

Short - S.34 / S.35 - 1911 - Великобритания<– –>Short - S.33 / S.38 seaplane - 1912 - Великобритания

C.Barnes Short Aircraft since 1900 (Putnam)

Short Twin-Engined Biplanes (1911-13)

   Short Brothers were not the originators of the twin-engined aeroplane, as has sometimes been claimed, for both Hiram Maxim in 1894 and Clement Ader in 1897 had used two steam engines, because they needed twice the output of the only available power units; for the same reason Col Capper installed two 12 hp Buchet engines in the Dunne D.4 in 1908 and J. W. Seddon used two N.E.C.s in his fantastic steel-tube tandem biplane in 1910; neither of these left the ground, but on 27 September, 1910, Roger Sommer made the first successful twin-engined flight in a biplane of his own design. About the same time Horace Short, in his search for better controllability at low speeds, conceived the idea of placing all the control surfaces in the slipstream and took out a master patent, No. 1,223 of January 1911, covering all practicable arrangements, including outboard airscrews in front of the ailerons and a central airscrew or propeller ahead of the tail surfaces. As a first application of the principle, he designed and built a variant of the S.27-type with two engines which could be shut down independently; this biplane, S.39, could maintain flight on either one of its two engines and was thus the first example in the world of twin engines being used to enhance safety.
   S.39 was structurally the same as the improved Farman-Sommer-type Short biplane of 1911 apart from the nacelle and power plant arrangement; it had a stronger chassis laterally braced by struts, three rudders below the tailplane and a front elevator carried on inset pivots by booms pitched closer together than normal. The nacelle contained a cockpit with two seats side-by-side and carried a 50 hp Gnome engine and propeller on a standard overhung pusher mounting at the back; another 50 hp Gnome was mounted at the front, rotating in the opposite direction so that gyroscopic moments cancelled out when both engines were running. The forward engine drove two wing-mounted tractor airscrews through Wright-type Renold chain gears, the port chain being crossed to obtain counter-rotation, and the ‘bent-end’ airscrews were exactly like those made for the Short-Wright biplanes. S.39, known as the Triple-Twin, was first flown on 18 September, 1911, by Frank McClean; he made a brief solo flight, then, with Samson as passenger, flew eight wide circuits of Eastchurch aerodrome, throttling back each engine in turn and experiencing for the first time the luxury of an ample speed range while flying a level course. The effect of the outboard slipstream on lateral control was not up to Horace Short’s expectations, but he was pleased with the Triple-Twin’s overall performance and next decided to try the effect of co-axial counter-rotation on stability. The first step was to convert Cecil Grace’s old S.27 to a similar twin-engined layout, but with the front engine direct-coupled to an airscrew, as shown in patent No. 22,675 of 1911.
   This version was called the Tandem-Twin, or, less formally, the Gnome Sandwich, and retained the original S.27 wings and cambered tail unit unchanged except for the addition of two extra top rudders. The chassis was strengthened in the same way as for S.39, and the existing front elevator and booms were retained, since they allowed adequate clearance for the central airscrew. The Tandem-Twin was flown by McClean on 29 October, 1911, without any preliminary taxying; after a short flight at 100 ft he landed and expressed even more satisfaction than with the Triple-Twin; he spent the rest of the day taking up various passengers to test their reactions to the slipstream and to the location of the rear propeller only 10 in behind their heads. The draught in the cockpit was quite powerful and the Tandem-Twin soon acquired yet another soubriquet - The Vacuum Cleaner - and was credited with the ability ‘to pull the hairs out of a fur coat’; this was mainly due to the open hole in the floor, which was the only means of access. The Tandem-Twin could maintain height with either engine throttled back, but was unstable in every direction, due to insufficient aileron power and to unpredictable variations in torque reaction with the rear propeller working in the wake of the front one. Horace Short investigated this effect very thoroughly and deduced design rules for the relative diameters and pitches of tandem airscrews which were still valid 20 years later.
   He also designed a larger biplane with two central engines of 120 hp each, driving four propellers arranged in tandem pairs in the wings, with independent chain gears for the front and rear engines. He obtained a number of patents (Nos. 8,108, 8,394 and 22,750 of 1911) for co-axial and interconnected airscrews, but the four-screw aeroplane was never built; however, Maurice Egerton apparently had his S.35 biplane converted into a Triple-Twin and flew it regularly from April 1912 onwards. Both S.39 and S.27 were flown at first without wing extensions, and on 21 November, 1911, they were raced by Longmore and Gerrard respectively; both did better than 55 mph, but S.39 seemed to have the edge over S.27. In December, S.39 was fitted with extensions and double fuel capacity; in February 1912, S.39’s extensions were removed and fitted to S.27, and in October 1912, S.39 was temporarily given equally extended upper and lower wings of 50 ft span, which further top extensions later increased to 64 ft. S.39 was purchased by the Admiralty in June 1912 and given serial T3, later simplified to 3; in the spring of 1913 it was returned to the works for overhaul and completely remodelled as a two-seat tandem pusher with new wings and no front elevator, as already described. The Admiralty declined to buy the Tandem-Twin, which remained McClean’s property (it was No. 11 in his private fleet list), but he lent it to the Naval Flying School without charge, and it was eventually crashed by Samson; Egerton’s S.35 appears to have been dismantled and probably formed the basis of one of the Sociables of early 1914. The final development of the triple-twin theme was the Triple-Tractor S.47, which is described in a later chapter.

Triple-Twin - Span 34 ft (103 m), later 50 ft (15-3 m); length 45 ft (13-7 m); area 435 sq ft (40-4 m2), later 500 sq ft (46-5 m2); empty weight 1,800 lb (816 kg); loaded weight 2,100 lb (953 kg); speed 55 mph (88-6 km/h).
Tandem-Twin - Span 34 ft 2 in (10-4 m), later 50 ft (15-3 m); area 480 sq ft (44-6 m2), later 517 sq ft (48 m2); otherwise as for Triple-Twin.

Short Pusher Biplanes (1910-14)

   Two other types of pusher biplane deserve notice. One was a startling metamorphosis of the original Triple-Twin, S.39, which reappeared on test by Sydney Pickles on 24 July, 1913, as a neat two-seat tandem pusher without a front elevator. It had constant-chord wings of improved profile with struts of oval steel tube and the landing gear and tail unit of a late production S.38-type, with balanced rounded rudders; it still retained its original serial 3, which was almost its only link with the past. Lighter in weight than a standard S.38-type, it had a very lively performance, with a top speed of 65 mph and the then exceptional rate of climb of over 600 ft/min; its ceiling was better than 9,000 ft. It was a favourite mount of Samson’s, and he used to fly it at night; he took Winston Churchill up in it during his visit to Eastchurch on 24-25 October, 1913. Finally, it joined the scratch squadron which Samson took to Flanders early in the war and was based at Poperinghe in October 1914, but was never armed and only used as a communications hack.

S.39 (rebuilt) - Span 52 ft (15-84 m); length 29 ft (8-85 m); area 500 sq ft (46-5 m2); empty weight 1,000 lb (454 kg); loaded weight 1,500 lb (680 kg); speed 65 mph (104-6 km/h).

M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)

Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing

P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)

Short Tandem Twin

   The Tandem Twin of 1911 was known colloquially as the "Vacuum Cleaner", owing to the draught created by its pair of 50 h.p. Gnomes, or the "Gnome Sandwich", because the side-by-side pilot and passenger were seated between the engines. The tractor-pusher machine was Short No. 17 and was built for F. K. McClean, who gave it his private number 11. The Tandem Twin and Triple Twin were the outcome of Horace Short's belief in obtaining plenty of power for his aeroplanes by employing more than one engine. In essence, they were direct developments of the S.27 design and were the first multi-engined machines built in Great Britain and probably the first in the world. The Tandem Twin was bought daring late 1911 by the Admiralty and was used for training naval pilots at the Eastchurch flying-school under its Admiralty number 27. Span, 50 ft. Length, 45 ft. Wing area, 500 sq. ft. Weight loaded, 2,100 lb. Maximum speed, 55 m.p.h.

Short T.3 Triple Twin

   Together with the Tandem Twin, the Triple Twin was one of Horace Short's experiments in multi-engined aeroplanes. It was built during mid-1911 for F. K. McClean, who tested it at Eastchurch in September of the year. In the case of the Triple Twin, the front 50 h.p. Gnome engine drove two tractor propellers by means of long chains, while the rear 50 h.p. Gnome acted as a single pusher. All three propellers were of 8 ft. 6 ins. diameter. The machine seated two. In its original form the wings had an equal span of 34 ft. They were soon increased by extensions to an upper span of 50 ft., resulting at the same time in an increase in area from 435 to 500 sq. ft. At the end of 1911 the Triple Twin was used for the training of naval pilots at Eastchurch, and was later given the designation T.3.


   Description: Two-seat tractor-pusher biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
   Power Plant: Two 50 h.p. Gnomes.
   Dimensions: Span, 34 ft. (later 50 ft.). Length, 45 ft. Wing area, 435 sq. ft. (later 500 sq. ft.).
   Performance: Maximum speed, 55 m.p.h.

Short Tractor-pusher Monoplane

   The second Short monoplane was constructed during 1912 and was nicknamed the "Double Dirty". Two 70 h.p. Gnome engines were fitted, one in front of the pilot and the other behind him. The machine was fitted w ith inflatable flotation bags to enable it to alight on water, and was tested for the Admiralty in September, 1912, by Cdr. C. R. Samson. R.N.

Short Admiralty No. 3
   The Admiralty No. 3 was acquired by the Naval Wing of the R.F.C. during 1913. It was a two-seat pusher biplane and was powered by the 80 h.p. Gnome engine. One only was built, and it took its designation from the number allotted to it on entering service. The No. 3 was employed for training pilots at Eastchurch, but, in October, 1914, it was sent out to join Cdr. C. R. Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the R.N.A.S. in France.

O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


   This aeroplane, with the Triple Twin the first multi-engined aircraft ever built in Great Britain, was purchased by the Admiralty in 1911 and used at the Naval Flying School at Eastchureh. It was converted from a Short S.27 airframe. It had two 50 hp Gnome rotary engines, one driving a tractor and one a pusher airscrew, the pilot being seated between. Maximum speed, 55 mph. Span, 34 ft 2 in. Length, 40 ft 6 in.


   This early Short biplane, also used by the Naval Flying School at Eastchurch from 1911 (RNAS No.3) was powered by two 50 hp Gnome engines. The front engine drove twin airscrews and the rear engine a single pusher. Maximum speed, 55 mph. Span, 50 ft. Length, 45 ft. In July 1913 it was re-built as a two-seater with no forward stabiliser and a single Gnome pusher and went to Belgium in 1914 with Cdr Samson's Eastchurch Squadron.

Журнал Flight

Flight, September 9, 1911.


   To design and construct a new biplane fitted with a 100-h.p. plant consisting of two engines and three propellers, is sufficient proof, if any were needed, that Messrs. Short Brothers do not lack enterprise. Moreover, it is evidence that they have the courage of their convictions, for the machine is a full scale experiment intended to test some of their more recent patents. So far as the framework and planes are concerned, the machine adheres more or less closely to the standard practice of the firm, and thus they are following the very proper course of trying out new things on a basic design that they already know something about.
   The new feature is the power plant, which consists of two engines placed fore and aft. The forward engine drives two tractor-screws by means of chains, the after engine is direct coupled to a propeller. The combined power of the equipment is 100-h.p., and both engines are intended to be in operation simultaneously. However, the machine is so designed that either one of its engines will be sufficient to keep the machine flying at a speed of about 36 miles an hour, while with both in operation the speed is expected to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 55 miles an hour. By so equipping the machine with two entirely independent power plants, the risk attending engine failure is almost entirely obviated, for should one peter out, the pilot will be able to proceed unconcernedly by the aid of the other, and leisurely choose a suitable landing place, where he may descend to make any adjustments to his temporarily disabled engine. This is one advantage that the makers claim for the system. Another is, naturally, the enhanced efficiency of the slow-speed tractor-screws driven by the forward motor, but the third claim is the most interesting of all. Messrs. Short Bros, consider that the draught from these tractor screws will be sufficient to establish a permanent uniform "wind" through the gap of sufficient magnitude to blow out any ordinary gust, and that to this extent they will render the machine far more stable in windy weather than would otherwise be the case. Also, it is anticipated that the efficiency of the planes will be enhanced by working in the propeller draught, which will at all times augment the effective flight speed, and an even more important consideration is that the balancers, which are directly in its wake, will be rendered far more sensitive at slow velocities. It has always been argued in connection with the control of aeroplanes by organs like balancers, which themselves derive their force by flying through the air, that their effectiveness varies with the speed of the machine, and is a minimum when the disturbance is likely to be most dangerous. On the new Short biplane, however, these balancers, by operating in the draught of the tractor screws, will have a minimum useful value that is independent of the speed of flight.
   Although these are not all the points that Messrs. Short Bros, are seeking to investigate in their new biplane, they must suffice for the moment, and they are, in any case, sufficient to give weight to our statement that the machine in question is one of exceptional interest and does the makers credit. If we turn from the principles to the machine itself, there is one point on which we feel compelled to make an early remark, which is that the structural work has been finished with all the care that one expects on an aeroplane built to order, and but too seldom finds on one that is built for trial purpose, only. It is, however, characteristic of the firm that their experimental work should be of this description, so we need say no more about its
   Most of what it is necessary to know about the design and construction of the machine can be seen at a glance by the aid of the accompanying photographs and drawings, and much of the detail that is invisible can be taken for granted by assuming that it is the same as that already described by us in connection with the standard Short models. Two differences that may be noted, however, are the triple rudder and the small span of the elevator outrigger booms, compared with the span of the elevator itself.
   Both engines are seven-cylinder rotary Gnomes, and that in front forms as it were the nose of a car, fashioned somewhat, as it appears at first glance, like the outline of a racing automobile. The pilot sits in this car, and there is room for a passenger alongside him, but although the extra seat is not there yet, we have visions of accommodation being provided for two other passengers behind the pilot if the machine proves anything like as successful as is hoped. The aft motor is situated well behind the back of the car, as one of the photographs shows.
   The tractor screws are driven by very long chains, running in tubular guides, and rotate in opposite directions, one of these chains being crossed in order to give the necessary reversal of motion. Wright practice is recalled in the use of these steel guide tubes, and in the shape of the tractors themselves; it affords, in fact, a particularly interesting comparison to note the difference in form between the slow-speed propellers in front and the high-speed propeller behind.
   In front of the pilot is a wheel mounted on the top of a pivoted column. Turning the wheel operates the balancers, and a to-and-fro motion of the column controls the elevator. Steering is effected by a pivoted cross-bar under the feet, and this mechanism is fitted in duplicate so that the passenger may work in unison with the pilot.
   A point that is worth noting is that the fuel tanks are situated as far away from the engines as is practicable, in order to remove as far as possible the liability of serious accident in the event of an atterrissage brusque. They are also fitted with feed pipes of such design as to ensure a constant supply to the carburettor for any attitude that the machine may assume in flight.
   So much is, for the moment, all we need say of the new Short biplane, but the fact that it is an experimental machine affords us the opportunity for remarking that it is by no means indicative in itself of the extent of Short Bros.' experimental work, and we should like to congratulate them on this occasion for the thoroughness with which they investigate stresses and strains, and by every means do their utmost to protect the pilot against mechanical failure in flight, for which they very properly say "there is no excuse."

Flight, September 23, 1911.


   THERE is not a great deal to report, but a first trial has been made, as mentioned below, with the new Short double-engined biplane, fully described in the issue of FLIGHT of the 9th inst.
   On Monday Mr. F. C. McClean made the first trial flights in his new Short twin engine biplane, the flights proving very successful, and the machine answering fully the expectations of its constructors. The first trial was made by Mr. McClean alone, who made a short straight flight, in which the machine showed great buoyancy, rising rapidly into the air in spite of the preliminary run being uphill.
   Afterwards, with Lieut. Samson on board, Mr. McClean made eight laps of the ground in which he frequently flew with either engine throttled down. A strong feature of the tactics was the large margin of power exhibited by the machine in flight, it being possible to vary the speed considerably, by throttling down either or both engines without causing a descent.
   Mr. McClean stated afterwards that he found the warping control very effective and the biplane very steady in flight; it also showed a very flat gliding angle, when the engines were cut off, in this respect, strongly reminding one of the Nieuport monoplanes at the last Gordon-Bennett Race. The speed was estimated at 52 to 54 m.p.h.

Flight, November 4, 1911.


Royal Aero Club Flying Ground, Eastchurch.

   INTEREST centred on Sunday around the trail of another new twin-engine machine which has just been completed in the shops of Messrs. Short Bros., the design of which is included amongst their patents for twin-engine system machines.
   No doubt the method of employing the two propellers will be largely criticised, as it has always been an accepted theory that one propeller working directly in the wake of another is not an ideal and efficient arrangement; but, so confident has Mr. H. L. Short been that this system could be made quite efficient and simple, that the present machine was built, and on its first trials fully justified the confidence which the designer had placed in it.
   The machine is fitted with two 50-h.p Gnomes, one behind the main planes in the centre line of the machine, with a single propeller, and the other engine directly at the back of the planes on the same axial line as the front engine, also fitted with a single propeller. The nacelle is situated between the two engines and is arranged with thwartship seats and dashboard, and dual control throughout. The engines turn in opposite directions, so that there is no gyroscopic action and no engine torque, as one engine balances the other when both are running at the same speed and give off the same horse-power. The machine flies easily with either engine.
   So great has been the success of twin-engine drives, both with three screws, and the latest with two screws, that Messrs. Short Bros, are now commencing to build a machine of 250-h.p., which will have four propellers.
   Upon the dashboard of the machine now under review are conveniently arranged a complete set of instruments such as an aviator requires, which include a speed indicator for each engine and an aneroid barometer, the latter specially made for aviation work by Short Bros. Another new feature introduced by the makers is in regard to the petrol supply, which is controlled by a special cock, which in turn is connected to an indicator finger working against a graduated dial, thus enabling the tap to be set to the most suitable opening and the exact position noted - a detail of considerable importance in relation to Gnome engines. As before mentioned, the machine is fitted with dual control, so that it can be operated from either seat, and by a neat arrangement the switches and throttles of the two engines can be worked either separately or both at once by a single movement of the hand, as occasion requires.
   Mr. Frank McClean, who piloted the machine on its first run, did not attempt any preliminary ground rolling, but took the machine straight into the air and made a lap of the aerodrome at a height of about 100 feet. On descending he expressed great satisfaction at the behaviour of the machine, which flew extremely well and at a great speed. During the afternoon he made several extended flights, taking in turn Lieut. Samson, R.N., Lieut. H. V. Gerrard (brother of Capt. Gerrard, the aviator) and Mr. J. L. Travers, of Messrs. Short Bros., as passengers. For a final flight, taking with him Lieut. Gregory, R.N., as passenger, Mr. McClean made a long tour of the island, passing over Queenborough and Sheerness, keeping at an altitude of about 600 feet the whole way. The machine exhibited splendid climbing powers, rising with unusual rapidity.

Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
Short S.39 Triple-Twin a development to improve control by providing greater coverage of the control surfaces by the slipstream. - General view from the front, showing the two tractor-screws at the ends of the main planes, and the single propeller in the centre behind.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
Early form of Short Triple Twin.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
General view from behind of the new Short double-engined biplane, showing the triple rudder. In this the position of the rear propeller and Gnome engine are seen.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
THE NEW SHORT DOUBLE-ENGINED BIPLANE. - On the left the front engine, and on the right the rear engine, propeller, pilot's seat, &c.
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
Close-up view of S.39 in its original form with equal-span wings; Eastchurch, September 1911.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
The New Two-Engined Short Biplane, which has during the past week made such successful flights under the pilotage of Mr. Frank McClean at the Royal Aero Club's Eastchurch flying grounds. On the left Mr. Frank McClean is in the pilot's seat just ready to start, and on the right is a view from behind, showing Mr. McClean up with Lieut. Samson as passenger.
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
S.39 after its first revision, with extended upper wing but original fuel system.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
Short S.39 Triple Twin with extended upper wings.
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
S.39 in its later form, with four fuel tanks.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
Frank McClean about to start in the Tandem-Twin S.27.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
Short S.27 Tandem-Twin. A major conversion of the original S.27 was acquired by McClean and loaned by him to the Admiralty.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
The Short 100-h.p. twin-engined biplane with which Mr. Frank McClean is carrying out such excellent work at the Royal Aero Club's Eastchurch flying grounds. In the left-hand photograph, Mr. McClean is seen in the air on Saturday last, and on the right, Mr. McClean has just finished a passenger flight with the Hon. Maurice Egerton. Reading from left to right are Mr. Frank McClean, Capt, Gerrard, Mr. Horace Short, and the Hen. Maurice Egerton.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
MR. FRANK McCLEAN AND HIS SHORT TANDEM TWIN-ENGINED MACHINE. - On the left just starting away from the Eastchurch grounds, with Lieut. Samson as passenger, and on the right Mr. McClean helping to store his machine after his first flight on it.
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
Mr. McClean just alighting after a flight on the Short twin-engined machine.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
Short S.39 rebuilt to resemble S.38 type and became RNAS 3.
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
S.39, formerly the Triple-Twin, rebuilt as a pusher (RNAS 3) at Eastchurch in 1914.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
Short Triple Twin
C.Barnes - Short Aircraft since 1900 /Putnam/
Short S.39 Triple Twin, Tandem Twin
Журнал - Flight за 1911 г.
THE NEW SHORT DOUBLE-ENGINED BIPLANE. - Plan and elevation to scale.